Cade’s Earning Potential

The Detroit Pistons have confirmed their intention to take Cade Cunningham at No. 1 in Thursday’s NBA Draft, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.

That means the Oklahoma State guard will nab the biggest available rookie contract.

From the top pick all the way down to No. 30, first-year contracts are slotted based on draft position and correspond to a specific percentage of the annual salary cap.

The payouts have risen considerably over the last six years, from the $70 million cap in 2015-16 to $109 million last season.

  • 2015: Karl-Anthony Towns: four years, $25.7 million
  • 2016: Ben Simmons: four years, $26.6 million
  • 2017: Markelle Fultz: four years, $37.4 million
  • 2018: Deandre Ayton: four years, $40.3 million
  • 2019: Zion Williamson: four years, $44.3 million
  • 2020: Anthony Edwards: four years, $44.3 million

Even before the Pistons’ decision, Nike had already committed to Cunningham.

The footwear giant inked Cade to a multiyear endorsement deal this week that Woj reported could be the highest-earning shoe deal in this draft class.

Two other projected lottery picks — Evan Mobley and Jalen Suggs — signed with adidas.

That’s a great sign for top rookies — as well as the industry — after Edwards failed to land a shoe deal heading into the COVID-shortened 2020-21 campaign.

Only LaMelo Ball (Puma) and R.J. Hampton (Li-Ning) signed shoe deals prior to the start of the season.

The Draft starts at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.